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Europe in Brief Germans have been crowned world-texting champions. A survey by the Global System for Mobile Communication recently showed that Germans send a whopping 200m messages a day, nearly three times as many as the Finns (75m) or Britons (70m).

DPA suggest that texting is popular in Germany because the long-divided country had a patchy telecommunications system until unification in 1990. Most East Germans had no individual phone service, and adopted mobiles instead. And, because call rates were still high, many people opted for SMS.


Germany: sensitive data better protected

Neuroscientists at Bonn University in Germany have developed a new process for encoding sensitive data in such a way that only the intended recipient can read it. The solution comes in the form of two regular memory sticks. Software converts the two memory cards into two halves of a single entity. The individual coding can only be broken by the owner's second memory card, using biometrical data from iris scanners or fingerprint readers.

Eavesdroppers would be unable to decode the data, the researchers claim. The computer screen would only show garbage, but once decoded the pixels "regroup" themselves and the data appears. Bonn University will show its invention next week at the Hanover Trade Fair (Pavilion 18, stand AO2).


Italy: Accenture acquires Nomos

Accenture has signed an agreement to acquire Nomos Sistema, a Milan-based leading provider of life insurance administration and product management software systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The purchase is part of Accenture's strategy to further enhance its market penetration and business process outsourcing capability in insurance in key markets, including Italy. Nomos Sistema had revenues of €14.7m in 2003.


Poland: IT companies set sights on exports

Polish IT companies are increasingly turning to exports as a way of boosting revenues, Warsaw Business Journal reports. Last summer, ComArch, the Krakow-based integrator, signed a contract to administer the telecom and computer networks of the public administration of Washington, the US home state of Microsoft. That assignment was followed by contracts with two German telecom operators.

Now other IT firms are also looking to boost their foreign revenues. Veracomp, a Krakow distributor of security, telecom and mass memory software, is expanding its business into Germany and Austria, while Comp Rzeszów - a portfolio company of the region's largest private equity fund - is setting up an international capital group called Software Center for Central and Eastern Europe. ®

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